Little Rock Tornado - January 21, 1999
On Thursday evening, January 21, 1999, a tornado struck Little Rock's MacArthur Park Historic District, Governor's Mansion Historic District, and Arkansas State Fairground neighborhood. Three people in the city were killed by the tornado, and 308 homes were damaged. Killed were Robert Howard, a pharmacist at Harvest Foods, Lisa Jacko who was driving a car near the supermarket, and James Looper in a North Little Rock mobile home. The home of Daisy Bates of the Little Rock Nine, on the National Register of Historic Sites, was destroyed by the tornado. Seventy thousand utility customers in the city lost power.
President Clinton toured the ravaged neighborhoods of Little Rock on January 24th. Said Clinton before his visit, "The fact that the Governor's Mansion, where Hillary and I raised Chelsea for 12 years, was actually in the path of the storm made it all the more real to me." During his visit he said, "For all the tornadoes Arkansas has, and the ones that have hit around Little Rock, we never had one just basically come down Main Street. We had all these wonderful old trees. It's difficult to see." An old treehouse constructed for Chelsea Clinton on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion was among the structures destroyed.
The outbreak of tornadoes across the South on January 21st - thirty-eight in Arkansas alone - took eight lives.
- Steve Barnes, "Dozens of Tornadoes Kill 8 in Arkansas and Tennessee," New York Times, January 23, 1999.
- James Bennet, "Back Home Again, Clinton Surveys Tornado Damage," January 25, 1999.
- "Clinton Surveys Ark. Tornado Damage," USA Today, January 25, 1999.
- "Tornados Kill Another 8 in South," USA Today, January 22, 1999.